Auspicious Phoenix Recycling Palace- Re-made in China
Film Jon Robson (48 secs.)
A commission for Arbomb Doncaster 2022, In a sense this project started sometime in late 2006. It was probably a slow news day and the media was full of stories about the Emma Maersk 3- The world’s largest container ship at the time. It was on its maiden voyage from China where it was constructed to Europe where it was calling in at Felixstowe not far from where I lived at the time. Due to the timing of its arrival and the fact that most manufactured goods these days come from the other side of the world, all the news items played on the idea that it was delivering Christmas or was a giant Santa’s sleigh. I realised that if the ship was full of Christmas presents surely most of it was stuff people didn’t really want or need.
The media narrative went on to say that on the ships return journey it also took away materials to be recycled in China- with an emphasis on the wrapping paper and packaging- A neat recycling story of good cheer that I believed up until recently when I did the research for this project and found out that - like Father Christmas, it’s not true anymore. Since January 2021 China has put a ban on all solid waste recycling products leaving most of our plastics and other difficult to recycle materials going to landfill or being incinerated.
With this work I tried to make something with a transport connection that would highlight the relationship with the manufactured goods we use and their connection to the other side of the globe.
I made the vehicle with the help of Doncaster council’s household waste recycling centres who gave me the bicycle’s; a lot of the red rubbish and various other scrap parts that I welded together in the yard of the Unitarian church. I also worked with the ‘Don Catchment River Trust’ to collect as much red rubbish as I could find by the river. During the festival I cycled around Doncaster city centre with a litter picker collecting only red litter whilst wearing a high viz jacket with the name of a fictitious company printed on the back -‘The Auspicious Phoenix Recycling Palace- Re made in China’. If I was asked by the public what I was doing I made up a story about China giving a premium price for red rubbish because it was an auspicious, lucky colour. If the questioning got any deeper I just said “I dunno, I only do what I’m told”! The music playing on the megaphone is called ‘The East is red’.
The Chinese restaurant in Doncaster where I got the font for my hi viz jacket. Photo: Ian Robson
The company hi viz
Leaving 'Artbomb' on the rickshaw.
Under construction. Some of the various pieces of garden furniture etc in foreground that I used to make the rickshaw
The rickshaw by the river Don where I collected some of the red litter witht he help of Don river catchment trust volunteers
An earlier rickshaw made in 2007 with RKL consultants Leeds (Weeebots projects) and Education Leeds.
(39 secs) Working for the 'Auspiscious Phoenix Recycling Palace
(1 min. 4 secs) Working for the 'Auspiscious Phoenix Recycling Palace
(34 secs.) A trip to the other side of Doncaster with Inari and Anthony Hall who also had pedal powered art pieces in the festival. Film Dr Anthony Hall
(19 secs.) A trip to the other side of Doncaster with Inari and Anthony Hall who also had pedal powered art pieces in the festival. Film Dr Anthony Hall
(!2 mins). Artbomb 22 festival documentary by Ted Webley